Monday, September 8, 2014

Why watering plants is a hobby I miss

My fondest memories of childhood are associated with the huge lawn in the house. Okay, it wasn't huge, but if I compare it to the average Delhi flat, it would have taken up most of our ground floor here. I'm pretty sure we had over 50 varieties of differently shaped flower pots in that Dehradun house. The huge Ashoka trees swayed ferociously every time it rained, often taking the electricity wires down with a gentle nudge. A few of them couldn't bear the violent storms and fell to the ground every couple of years. New ones took their place sooner than we knew.

I don't recall how I old I was, but I clearly remember rolling on the grass. I would pull out mud from the carefully cultivated lawn, much to the chagrin of my disciplined grandmother. What kind of hooligan had taken birth in her sophisticated family?

In the spring the garden would overflow with the brightest colours of dahlias and hybrid orange and purple roses that weren't usually found in the neighbourhood - all thanks to our special gardener who came all the way from FRI, Dehradun. There were poppies, a huge china rose plant, an ornamental lemon tree at the edge of the wall and three Ashokas lined like warriors right in front of the house. The hedge was always neatly trimmed. When I was old enough to figure how to attach the hose clamp on the tap and carry it all the way to the lawn, I was given the responsibility of watering the plants.

It all began from filling up the smaller flower pots to the brim. 'Never aim at the flower with a lot of pressure, the petals will wither away.' I don't remember where all these lessons came from, it was either my brother or my mother. 'No, not too much pressure on the mud either, it's going to splash on the freshly painted walls!' Ugh, watering plants came with a lot of instructions.

The grass in the lawn was usually flooded with water whenever I took charge. 'See there's dirt on the leaves, wash it away with water.' By the time I was a little older I was receiving live lessons about xylem and phloem in my garden. 'Phloem transports organic matter during photosynthesis. It's the innermost layer of the bark. Xylem transports water and nutrients.' The details would follow later, but that's a lesson for another day. 

There were times the hose twisted or the water supply came with such force that the tube was thrown far away and lay anguished on the floor. This usually meant I was going to be drenched, just like the lawn. This entire activity took anything between 45 mins to an hour and a half every evening. 

You should have seen my lawn once I had drenched the garden with copious amounts of water. The leaves shined like the greenest green, often reflecting the last few rays of the setting sun. The flowers brightly showed off their new colours as if they were out in their newest dresses. The trees dripped with endless drops of water throughout the evening. My five foot frame managed to reached the farthest branches three times my height with the help of the long hose pipe that sprayed water to the neighbour's house at times too. It was cool, green, and you could feel your lungs full of fresh air. 

Nothing quite matches the joy of rolling in the lawn - my first home :) 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

10 Reactions When You're Losing A QuizUp Game

XYZ joined QuizUp.
XYZ added you on QuizUp.
XYZ challenged you in Grammar.
XYZ sent you a message.
If this is what you're seeing a lot on your phone these days, this post is for you.

Here are a few reactions after losing a game. Don't lie, you've all been through this.

1. Tapping the wrong answer when you know the right one.

2. Getting a call in the middle of a neck and neck match.

3. Losing in the last 2x points round when you’ve been leading till the 6th question.

4. Beginner from unknown state in America beats you in Bollywood.

5. Turning off Wi-Fi is better than losing to crush thrice in a row.

6. You’re finally leading by an unbeatable margin and the opponent surrenders.

7. The opponent knows the nationality of the players who won mixed doubles in some Tennis Tournament in 1953. They've obviously seen this question before.

8. No mom, work can wait. This game CANNOT be paused.

9. Random friends messaging you to accept a challenge when they've already scored 160.

10. And then one day, you end up scoring 160! Zenmaster!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

How twitter followers answer questions

This is a very informative write up on social media interactions.
LOLJK, it isn't.

Studies by the Oinkoo International University for Social Media Research have revealed that *only 1% of your followers actually read your genuine queries on Twitter. Out of those 1%, only half will respond to your question. Out of those half, only 1 will be a useful response. That 1 response is something that you already knew before asking the question or most probably didn't want to know.

(*valid only for people with **>800 followers.)
(**I made that up, yes.)

Here is an example:

I put up a question to ~ 7k followers with three things in mind:
> Most of them are not bots because I don't remember doing a LoKarLoFollow act. (How many of you know that? *wink wink*)
> At least some of them have time for real life interaction with real life friends apart from that dog, pig or squirrel on the other side of the screen.
> So many people. So many suggestions. So much yay!

And look what happened!

The ego massaging ones. awww.  :')

The totally feasible suggestion provider. hmmmm.

The smarty pants. Because that's the best thing to do, right? BFFs and all that shizz <3 <3

The wordplay freak. Dil, because it's cute and useful. <3 Oh wait, wordplay.

The basic #commonsense tweep. So sw33t and cute dea.

The current affair freak. #Khobragade #Adarsh #Scam

The kuch-nahi-mila-to-Manmohan Singh-basher. Totally okay to gift her a blank A4 size sheet.

 The affectionate one. :"> awww.

And just when I thought I'd delete the tweet and write something on the
"delete tweet, 
deactivate twitter, 
smash screen, 
move to a small village in Pakistan" format
comes the ONE expected reply! OMG. I was looking for something on those lines. *Gives Tweet of the Day trophy already*

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Reasons why you should listen to your parents

Respecting parents is something that was taught to us way back in primary school in those poorly animated charts. *Gets up early in the morning* *Salutes Parents* *Insert other too good to be true stuff*

As we started growing up, getting up early in the morning became increasingly difficult, and saluting parents was, by default, out of question. The only greetings you exchange in the morning are about how late you are and how they ended up raising a lazy beanbag. Once this cycle starts repeating everyday, you turn a deaf ear to the early morning ritual. I recently realised I should listen to them more often.

1. They haven't given up on me so far. Despite being the laziest, absolutely good-for-nothing loser of the family, mother will always prepare lunch for me, without fail. I may be 25 years old, but dad makes it a point that my wallet never runs out of money. This is probably because mommy knows how bad my cooking skills are, and daddy knows earning 25k a month is never going to be enough for me. I went for B.Sc instead of B.Tech, M.Sc instead of MBA, writing instead of research, but their displeasure never stopped me from doing what I wanted. Now that I have made an absolute mess of this joke called my 'career', they're still more than happy to have a loser daughter.

2. Experience. Both of them were once my age. Life was probably a little tougher for them since they had no internet back then and have had more face to face conversations than the number of FB conversations I've had. So they once told me how I was wrong and I told them they had no idea how things work now. Needless to say, they were right. But this wasn't followed by any mud-slinging, which is something that would have happened if I replace them with some other 'wise' friends.Plus, figuring out life on your own never works well.

3. Patience. It took them really long to watch me walk, talk, write, and prepare me for exams. I don't have the patience to teach daddy how to use a smartphone. He managed to find his way through it himself. Some of his questions are really amusing, but then I remember how I foolishly must have asked him stuff like why cows don't fly and birds don't bark. So yeah, a little bit of patience is never harmful.

4. Relationships. I'm guessing they have accepted the fact that there's nothing very charming about their daughter and nobody in their right minds would fall for a fickle-minded, self deprecating girl who has very little self respect. Hence, they will end up finding someone who has no idea about any of these outstanding qualities. In case nothing works out, you can always blame them for fixing you up with the wrong person. Till then, let them play Cupid-Cupid.

5. Simply listen. Mommy, the domestic Google search, will always tell you where she is safely keeping your clothes, wallet, bags, documents etc. If you just listen to her, you'll most likely know which corner of the house you should head to while looking for stuff.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I want an auto

I have this habit of reaching everywhere at least half an hour before I'm expected. So I make it to work sharp at 9 am, only to find empty blue chairs greeting me with the same blank expression everyday. The time table that I am, I leave work sharp at 5.30 pm, and take an auto on days when I'm too lazy to walk to the metro station.

There's nothing amazing about an auto ride back home, except on days when the auto-wallah seems to be possessed with the spirit of an F1 racer and clocks 12 minutes for a journey that normally takes 20 minutes. Last evening when I took an auto, I almost skipped a beat on finding a 4 year old kid sitting inside already. 'Bhoot!' - the first word my sub-conscious mind could form.

'Madam, ye mera ladka hai. Aaj bola papa ke saath chalunga to main le aaya,' the auto-wallah clarified reading my expression.

'Oh! School jata hai?' I asked him slightly amused.

'Abhi naya naya shuru kiya hai!' he beamed.

The shy boy kept swinging his feet and looking out of the auto as we drove through the Noida expressway. I nudged him a little on the way. He looked up and flashed a smile that was a combination of excitement, enormous delight, and shyness. I raised my eyebrows to ask him, 'Wassup', but he looked down and shrugged, which probably meant the customary 'nothing much!'

The kid's face spelled pleasure and happiness as the wind ruffled his hair and stroked his cheeks. He looked outside at the fast cars speeding away, but I am sure the kids sitting in the AC cars weren't enjoying their ride half as much as this little one. A few minutes later his eyelids couldn't take it any more and started to droop.

'Neend aa rahi hai kya?' asked the Daddy.

He nodded.

'Acha, so ja fir.'

The little one hopped on to the luggage space and spread out. He closed his eyes and drifted away to the land of complete bliss - sleep.

Sigh! What a life. Someone had once told me that you must spend a lot of time around grandparents to get all the answers to your how's and why's and the rest of your time around kids who can barely speak to observe how to express yourself better and learn things the simpler way. The routine ride back home taught me how I was missing out on the simpler joys of life, feeling the cool breeze, watching the trees sway, and not missing the AC!

I knew I had to tell my dad about this. As soon as I got home I told him, 'I want you to buy an auto rickshaw'...
... which he conveniently dismissed as another incident of a dimaagi keeda biting me.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Because the kid said so

The past few weeks have been a little strange. I've never been very social in real life, but I do have a few friends who coax me into meeting them every now and then. Mostly, I've successfully managed to come up with excuses to not meet them, after which they usually stop prodding me to see them again.

Lately I've been receiving calls from friends who had never called me before. They want to check if I've been doing well. My biggest crush messaged me to tell me that I had been ignoring him! He noticed that I haven't been poking him on FB and I haven't been sending him forwarded messages on Whatsapp. My mother has been too kind even when I reach home past midnight. I should have felt special with all this love being showered on me without a reason. However, that wasn't the case.

I've spent the last couple of months longing to go back home - Dehra Dun. Technically I don't have a home there any more because we sold it before shifting to Delhi, but there's no other place in the world I can call home, not even this house I stay in. I've only been to Dehra Dun twice since 2006 for 2-day trips. When I scroll through the beautiful pictures I see on its Facebook page, I remember every cold morning, every torrential downpour, every morning sun and every star I've counted in the night sky, clearly. I remember looking around to find the mountains fixed in the frame everywhere, running up to the terrace to see where it had snowed on the hills, escaping to Rajpur Road to the best bakeries I've ever seen, basking in the sun whenever it showed up, watching the clouds turn orange to pink to the deepest blue as the sun set completely. That's about everything I do not get to see in Delhi.

While coming back home from work today I was almost confident that I was going to quit work soon. My work hasn't been the most interesting thing in my life of late. I could earn more than the meagre amount they pay me by taking up three interesting freelance assignments, and move to the valley for good. For once it seemed like a great idea. 'That seems feasible, doesn't it?' I asked myself. I didn't realise I had been walking on the wrong side of the road until a car crossed me. This little kid in the back seat was almost leaning out of the car waving at me and smiling happily. He kept waving and saying 'Nooooo' in a never ending sing-song voice.

'But why?' I wanted to ask him. Why should I not go back home? Why would you stop me? I looked ahead and saw that I walking in the wrong direction. I had crossed the main gate already. I shook my head, smiled to myself and walked back home.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Bollywood ke bhaiyas

Raksha Bandhan is one of my most favourite Indian festivals. It's all about brothers paying the price for having a sister. LOLJK. Although they do spend on sisters on this day, some willingly, while most other cringe, the best part about siblings is that they've known you since birth, will hurt you (emotionally and physically) and yet get away with it because they're too precious to let go of, will make you laugh, tease you, fight with you, complain about you, love to see you get scolded, stand by you when the situation gets out of hand, will be your friend and guide, will be an annoying pile on, will always care for you, will always have your back.

Raise all these emotions to the power of three and you get a perfect filmy sequence. I'm not a movie buff, but the bhai-behen Bollywood sequences are easy to find on every movie channel on this day. There are these sequences that you can almost never forget - either because they're too good or overly melodramatic.

1. The quintessential Andhi-maa-vidhwa-behen. So the hero is most likely Amitabh Bachchan, the mother is most likely Nirupa Roy, the widowed sister has the supporting role. The father hangs framed on a wall, or left the family to become a villain when the kids were in diapers. The brother is the head of the family, takes care of the expenses and gifts saris to the sister while she sings behna ne bhai ki kalaai pe pyar baandha hai type songs. Then he gets fired from the job, goes to jail while saving sister's izzat, has a supportive gf who fights the case and gets him out of jail, and everything else is fine in the end. Keep calm and thoko salaam to Bhaiya.

Because Bhaiiiyaaaa is here.

2. Andhi maa apahij behen. Replace widowed sister with handicapped sister in this one. The brother is an anmol ratan and the sister wouldn't want to trade him for anything in the world. An almost similar action and drama sequence happens. The brother is diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. Yes, I'm talking about Majboor. But he eventually gets cured because apaahij behen ki duayein and all worked. Now that everything is bright and sunny, the handicapped sister will eventually learn how to walk and get married to the hero's best friend. Have no fear, when Amitji is here!

You just don't kill the hero bhaiya.

3. Bichde hue bhai-behen. Separated as kids, the bhai behen in Hare Krishna Hare Rama gave us the national anthem for Raksha Bandhan - Phoolon ka taaron ka sabka kehna hai. It's all happy and beautiful for the siblings until family drama unfolds and they move continents apart. The sister becomes a hippie, the brother becomes a pilot. Pilot brother wants hippie sister to get rid of the bad habits. Eventually, the sister commits suicide. No happy ending here.
Dem feelz

4. The Twins(?)! I've watched Josh, okay? SRK and Aishwarya were not just any other siblings, they were twins, probably from different mothers. Because, Bollywood. The colour of their eyes was the same. LOL. There are gang wars. The sister falls in love with the brother's enemy. Love for brother is strong too. Fear of the brother is stronger. That's what I think. They really didn't act a lot in that movie, so I'm assuming it was either fear or love, but then again, everything is alright in the end.  I'm sorry I wrote about this, but this is one pair of forgettable siblings that I'll probably never forget. Also, Shashi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan were twins in Suhaag. LOLOLOLOL. I don't even...

5. The real brother-sister love. It was scripted, fake and hard to digest until Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na happened. Prateik Babbar spoke too less and had a very short role, but the movie had some of the most natural and believable contemporary bhai-behen scenes. Simple and sweet. That is all this bond is about!
I love bhaiya!